Mimosa pudica? or Sesbania sp. from Virginia

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A volunteer growing in a pot with a dahlia I bought this spring. It’s growing in a spot that gets bright shade, then afternoon sun. It’s approx. 2.5-3 feet, and is growing upright (so far), not vining or sprawling. It folds its leaves at night, and is somewhat sensitive to touch- the reaction isn’t immediate or dramatic. The stems are somewhat hairy, and newer growth has a reddish tinge. I’ve seen no thorns or flowers- at least not yet.

I’ve looked at many photos of photos of Fabaceae online- including at the Name That Plant site, so it’s time to ask an actual botanist for help

Thanks for any help you can provide,

Hi Virginia,

your plant looks a lot like the shorter sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica.  However, you said the reaction isn’t immediate so I’m not sure. Other similar plants are Cassia fasciculata (Chamaecrista fasciculata) and even Sesbania herbacea, but without seeing the flowers I cannot be sure.  The flowers will give it away – let it grow and bloom and then resubmit to me if you wish. If it is really 2-3 feet, then I would think it would be a Sesbania.


Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS


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